Allow me to briefly indulge my strong affection for Neoplatonism since the subject came up in the story and in the discussion. It should be noted that, until very recently, Neoplatonism was viewed with great suspicion, if it was viewed at all. There was something dangerous about it. In 1908, Cornford concluded his book 'From Religion to Philosophy' with a warning that Aristotle's contemplative life was one step removed from “the mystical trance" of Neoplatonic “ecstasy” in which “Thought denies itself; and Philosophy, sinking to the close of her splendid curving flight, folds her wings and drops into the darkness whence she arose—the gloomy Erebus of theurgy and magic.” This characterization was well within the mainstream of the period. For at least two centuries, there was great hostility towards perceived eclecticism and syncretism. The Platonists of Late Antiquity were thought to have fallen away from the purity of Plato. Neoplatonism integrated disparate strands of Hellenistic philosophy. It drew on alien texts like the Chaldean Oracles. Its adherents came to embrace theurgy, whereby ritual actions where undertaken to enter into divine activity--this was maligned as vulgar magic. That many of the later Platonists had Eastern backgrounds didn't help. After the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in 529, we are told the following philosophers were forced to leave the city: Damascius the Syrian, Simplicius the Cilician, Eulamius the Phrygian, Priscianus the Lydian, Hermias and Diogenes from Phoenicia, and Isidore of Ghaza. Here we might look at E. R. Dodds who really kicked off the reappraisal of Neoplatonism with his article The Parmenides of Plato and the Origin of the Neoplatonic 'One' in 1928. There wasn't much of a reaction at first, but by the 50's other scholars had taken note. By the late 60's, Neoplatonism had almost become a respectable area of study. I mention Dodds here for another reason too. He was very interested in the supernatural and the occult. His article 'Supernormal Phenomena in Classical Antiquity' is full of choice tidbits of some relevance like this passage on communication with the dead: The possibility of communication with the dead was seldom denied save by Epicureans and sceptics, but the prevalent pattern of belief did not encourage it. On the orthodox pagan view only the unquiet dead-those who had died untimely or by violence, or had failed of due burial-were earthbound and available. And since these were thought to be angry and dangerous spirits, their company was not as a rule desired; those who sought it were suspect of exploiting it for the unholy purpose of magical aggression. Or this footnote about ghosts: The tradition that earthbound spirits haunt their place of death or of burial is as old as Plato (Phaedo 81 c-d) and doubtless far older. It persisted throughout Antiquity and survived the advent of Christianity (cf., e.g., Origen, c. Cels. 7.5; Lactantius, div. inst. 2.2.6). The prototypical tale is that told by the younger Pliny (Epist. 7.27.4 ff.) of a haunted house at Athens and reproduced by Lucian (Philopseudes 3of.) with a different location and a few additional horrors. For other haunted houses see Plutarch apud schol. Eur. Alc. I I28 (the Brazen House at Sparta); Plutarch, Cimon I (house at Chaeronea, said still to produce 'alarming sights and sounds' in Plutarch's day); and Suetonius, Caligula 59.